NYC quantifies savings from going green

enviroJust as temperatures started to rise after a rain-soaked June, New York City launched a campaign to encourage people to “Be Cool & Smart” by reducing air conditioning-related electricity consumption. This is a part of an aggressive plan to reduce the city’s carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

One ad reads “Clean your air conditioner filters to save money. Dirty air filters make your A/C work harder & use more electricity.” Another tells subway riders to “Turn up your thermostat to save money. Each degree higher can cut your energy bill by 3% or more.”

Rather than emphasize the bigger, long-term “greener, greater New York” vision—which may be a bit abstract for some, especially during the sweltering summer months—the ads focus on the immediate monetary benefit. This is a much easier argument to make, especially at a time when people are trying to save money wherever they can.

As we found in “The Recession and Its Impact on the Environment,” consumers have adopted a number of behaviors over the past year that could be considered environmentally friendly—turning off lights/appliances when not in use, waiting to replace things until absolutely necessary, reusing things, etc. But as might be expected, the recession is a more dominant motivator for these behaviors than the environment.

For green brands benefitting from the recession, get in with the pockets and keep them with the planet. Leverage people’s concern over money to stimulate environmentally friendly behaviors and then work on changing attitudes (e.g., the impression that going green is more expensive) to help ensure people maintain these habits well past the recession. As the recession abates, brands will need to reinforce that these behaviors benefit the environment, not just the pocketbook.

(Click here to download the U.S. report on “The Recession and Its Impact on the Environment.” Please sign up for our subscriber alerts to be notified when the Australia, Canada, Japan and U.K. versions of the presentation are available.)

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